Just three days after a solid win in Montreal, Sporting KC came home and tied the Houston Dynamo 0-0. The game was controlled by Sporting as they had seventeen scoring opportunities to the Dynamo’s seven. The game was probably brought down by the 112 degree heat. Jimmy Nielsen thought the heat was a huge factor on the team’s performance when he said,
“The heat played a role today. I know that’s no excuse, but it’s just the facts. (The heat) is really, really bad right now. The tempo of the game was a little slow today because of that. But it’s something we can’t change—we have to deal with it and we have to be smart on the field and let the ball do the work. I think we did a pretty good job of that, and we communicated well…”
Sporting KC were beat last year in the Eastern Conference finals by the Houston Dynamo, so tying them was as good thing according to most. Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin said,
“We were solid in defense and we had a lot of opportunities ourselves to score. We really could have won today—too bad we didn’t, but it’s not a bad result. With this heat, we have to be smarter in the way we run. The last (few) games we’ve been putting pressure on the other team, but we are spending a lot of energy. Sometimes we are too tired to make the next move. So, because of this heat, we drop a little bit more and run less. We are smarter with our motion and the way we play. Today you saw that we were very concentrated and compact and didn’t allow them many opportunities in the game.”
Sporting KC now has to play 16, with the possibility of a 17th game, in the next 60 days. This will wear Sporting KC down but they need to stay tough in the next 60 days. Sporting will play three games every week for the next month. The next game is in Philadelphia against the Union. Sporting lost to the Union 4-0 last time they faced off so they are looking for some retaliation as they will have a chance to win the US Open Cup.